Hanne spent nine months in a Safir 7 cp from Tentipi to get to know her new ground where she was going to build a house. The idea was also to find out if “Life is better outside”, as they say in Norway. The story starts in July, the hot summer of 2018 and ends in April 2019. Hanne has learnt a lot and thinks that an Adventure Nordic tipi from Tentipi is as good as it was promised and even better. She really embraces the elements and got inspiration for her new house from living in the tipi in different seasons.

The idea “Life is better outside”

I can’t really remember exactly when I got the idea of living outside in a tipi. But it wasn’t a dream I’ve had as long as I can remember. I have some of them as well. But to live in a tipi in a mountain village, was not one of those dreams. Maybe it becomes like a result of a desire not to own that much? Or because I wanted to find out how little you need in life to be alright? Perhaps since I didn’t find enough time between work and indoor life to go outside and just embrace the nature and the change of the seasons? Due to the reason that I wanted to test my limits again, go outside the comfort zone? I also wanted my own free space. Be all on my own, independent.

When I bought seven acres of land in the mountain village where I grew up, the thought of living outside really kicked off. Now it was possible! I had a place to build a camp, legally, over a longer period of time.

I wanted to spend the year from when I bought the land until the building of a house started too, in an exciting way; I wanted an adventure. To live outside on the land I’ve bought, before I started building a house there, seemed like a good idea. In that way I would get to know my new home in a different way. And I guess it would be much more comfortable to move into a modern house with power and hot water after a primitive year outside.

Wonderings

I’ve also been wondering why people who love the outdoor life live inside? In Norway we have a saying “Life is better outside”. But if this is true, why does everyone live their life inside a house and not out in nature? Why has it become more important to document and share the good moments on social media, instead of actually be there, in them, seeking them up? This is perhaps the main reason why I wanted to move outside: I wanted to try to find out if life is better outside, and to stay present in the moments.

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Independence, opportunities and limitations

I have in my 26 years, always enjoyed being alone, in my own company. I can be myself fully then, without being influenced or rated by others. I got independent early, and to be able to take care of my self has become important to me. I don’t like to depend on others. I got the feeling of freedom for real, two years ago, when I travelled around the world on my own for five months, to find myself, learn to trust my gut feelings and explore and experience the world.

A lot of people around me were skeptical that I would handle this. But the truth is that I’ve never been better, than that time, when no one could set limits for me. When I got the space, I needed to think all the thoughts myself, without anyone affecting me. I learned that to listen to ordinary boring people who give you advice about things they don’t really know anything about, advice you’ve not even asked for isn’t a good idea.

I can’t understand people who don’t just go for whatever they want to do. I’ve always been more focused on opportunities than limitations. In my backpack I also have good work morale, I’m good at planning, and I’m a doer, I complete my projects. That’s something I’ve learned from my mum and dad and my childhood in a mountain lodge. All these qualifications have helped me to implement my plans, ideas and adventures and live the life I want to live.

Me and my partner in crime 20180816 203236 me and my partner in chrime web

I grew up in a small mountain village in the middle of south Norway and have been in the mountains as long as I can remember. When I was ten years old, the interest and curiosity for outdoor life and nature really kicked off. I built shelters in the woods, and actually sewed my own mini-tipi of leftovers and cuttings from a tipi producer. I slept outside, went hiking, and started climbing. It’s climbing and outdoor life that has followed me through my youth. It’s what I do. And the desire to keep on playing outside has only grown thru the years as I grow older. I go skiing, go fishing, go hiking summer and winter, climb, paddle, cycle and watch the campfire. That’s the life I know. I was on an outdoor school for a year and got a lot of friends with the same interest. But still, it is when I’m outside alone in nature, I’m my best. Then I’m free and the thoughts can fly freely.
That’s when I get the new ideas.

The best friend I have, to spend time with outdoor, is my husky. He is always with me and makes me feel safe. He doesn’t put any limits for me, like skeptical people do. We’re a good pack, just the two of us.

For a living, I work in the ambulance, and I’m enjoying the unpredictable challenges I meet, people I get to help and care for. I have a lot of good colleagues as well, and it’s good working hours which gives a lot of spare time to everyday adventures. With this as a base, I didn’t doubt it would be an adventure to live outside for a year. Challenging? Yes! But nothing I couldn’t handle. I was so excited, cause the winter in Norway can be rough.

Who knows how to live outdoors?

I started searching for other people who had experience living outdoors, in alternative ways, simple living. In tents, cabins, caravans or cars. They’re not so easy to find, these people, maybe there’s not so many of them? Or they’re like me, not on social media, sharing their life online.  I decided that even though I don’t know anyone that live the way I wanted to, it wouldn’t stop me. Instead I tried to find a solution that fits me. And the conclusion was that it has to be a tent or a tipi, to get the feeling of really living outside close to nature. It’s not only few tent and tipi producents out there to choose from. It’s easy to get lost in the marketing jungle looking for the best choice.

Choosing the tent

For me it turned out to be quite easy. I was in contact with a lot of producers, but the only one who could guarantee their products would cope with the 4 seasons and year-round use was Tentipi.

Jonny Bakaas, a dealer of Tentipi in Norway was the first and only who was positive to my project and who could deliver a tipi and an oven for my year out, even thru the Norwegian winter in the mountains. The other producers couldn’t recommend their products for year-round use. They wouldn’t stand the harsh conditions.

I decided to give Tentipi a go, and here I am, nine months after the tipi was raised on my land, and I’ve put behind me some adventures months in all four seasons in a Tentipi Safir 7 cp. You will get a glimpse of those nine months if you continue to read.

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Practical solutions

What most people ask me for, when I tell them I live in a tipi is: Isn’t it freezing cold? Where do you shower? And where do you go to toilet?

Well, the answer is easy, it’s not cold at all. Some of my habits have change a bit after moving outside. One of them is that I cook in my underwear. When I use Tentipi’s stove Eldfell inside the tipi to make food, it gets so warm that I have to take of my clothes. It says a lot about how effective Eldfell is as a heating source.

When it comes to the access to water, I’m lucky, because I have a special working situation. I work in the ambulance, and I work 24-hour shift twice a week. That means two nights a week, I sleep inside at work in a bed, with access to shower. I also get some water refills from my family living close to my tipi for the dishes and drinking water. So, as you can see, my winter in a tipi hasn’t been that extreme after all. I’ve still been living a normal life and my work has not been affected by this.

The answer to the toilet situation is not that special that many might hope for. I do it the same way as inside, just that I can’t flush, and I do it in the same place every time.

The need for a fridge appeared last summer in the crazy-hot weather we had. For a while, I wanted to invest in a gas-fridge. But I never got that far. Instead I used a basic cooler combined with good planning buying groceries that stay well outside a fridge for a longer time. When winter arrived I didn’t regret not buying a fridge. Then the food froze and it was a bigger problem than not having cold milk. Frozen eggs, bread and milk is not a good start of the day. A good colleague made me an isolated wooden box, there I could keep water and food during the winter so it wouldn’t freeze.

I used battery lamps and headlamps for lightning and had battery banks and a small solar panel to charge my phone. This is a bit about the practical solutions I went for.

 

The adventure begins…

Summer

It got late July 2018 before I went to Jonny Bakaas, the dealer of Tentipi in Norway to get my new home for the next months. I got a Tentipi Safir 7 cp with a wooden pole set and an Eldfell Pro stove. I was amazed at how small the Nordic tipi was when packed and just as surprised at how good space it was inside when it was put up. The land I’ve bought was not flat, so I had to add pebbles to level the ground. On top I put a wooden deck and then I raised the tipi.

Autumn

August, September and October went by, without big challenges. It was warm sunny days and the cooking took place outside on a gas primus so it wouldn’t get to warm inside the tipi. It was useful with the big air intakes in the tipi to get a good inside climate. After a while I enjoyed falling in sleep in the crispy autumn air and waking up to a fresh cool morning.

It got colder and I started using the stove, both as a heating source and as a cooking place. I tried for a week to put the alarm to set off during the night, so I could refile some wood in the oven to keep a nice temperature during the night, but this failed. I slept too well to wake up when the alarm set of couple of times during the night. So, the result was that I had a good amount of wood in the oven before I went to sleep, and when I woke up eight hours later, it was a bit colder then wished for inside.

This wasn’t any problem; it only takes about 10-15 minutes to get a nice temperature in the tipi when you light the fire in the stove. Dry wood and the stove are some of the most important and appreciated things I’ve had through these months. They have kept me dry and warm in snow, rain and cold weather. The Eldfell stove has given me the opportunity to cook good food and it has played music in my ears sparkling.

Late autumn – a visitor

November came with dark autumn nights, and one night I woke up and heard some rambling noise from my kitchen shelf and in the dishes I hadn’t bothered taken care of before I went to bed. I had a visitor.

I tried to catch the uninvited guest in the light of my headlamp, but it was too fast. All I could find was mouse poop in my kettles. I went to my parents’ house that night in a rush. Cause I’m not sharing my tipi with a mouse!

It had of course got in through the cracks in the wooden floor and liked the food it thought I had served for him inside the warm tipi. I lived inside for a week then and had to find a solution to keep the mouse outside. I had decided from the start, that if I get mouse in my tipi, I will move back in, it’s not an option for me to share my adventure with a mouse. But I wasn’t ready to give up already; it felt like I’ve just started the tipi-life.

A friend suggested folding down the canvas under the wooden deck, so they wouldn’t get under the cloth. Jonny from Tentipi suggested isolating with Styrofoam insulation plates and putting a cloth as a floor. I went for a combination of these two to keep the mouse outside, and I got more warmth out of the oven considering the isolation from the ground.

It worked excellent! After a week inside planning, and fixing, I was outside again. I haven’t seen a mouse since! But when the floor become that tight, there wasn’t enough ventilation for the stove to burn effective, combined with a little damp wood, I had to be very careful heating the Eldfell and had to have the air intakes open all the time when having a fire inside.

The world’s best cotton/polyester outer tent fabric – from Tentipi

The snow started falling and I’ve shoveled a good amount of snow from the tipi and my camp this winter. It has led to a good breathing cloth and no condenses inside the tipi.

To listen to the snow melting and how it slides down on the outside of the tipi when the sun appears in the mornings, or the birds twittering in the spring is nice sounds to wake up to. Or the rain tumbling, the relief of the tipi standing rock-solid when the wind goes crazy outside. The cotton/polyester fabric from Tentipi has also become important an appreciated by me. First and foremost, it has kept me protected from rain, snow and wind, and handled with the sun without getting damaged. But this was a prerequisite to choose Tentipi. I had been promised that it would withstand the weather and the conditions.

What I didn’t expect, was the effect the nice warm yellow color had on my mood. Whether it was a cloudy rainy day or a sunny day where the trees make strange shadows on the cloth, the balmy nice color have given me a feeling of happiness and safety. It has brought good vibes into my home and has become more important than you would think.

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Winter

Winter and its short days and long dark evenings have shown on my battery use. More and more of the time was spent inside the tipi instead of outside.

I only used a sleeping bag the coldest nights when the temperature went under -20 C. The rest of the year I’ve been using a duvet and a warm water bottle. I had a mattress that got me a bit up from the ground and a reindeer skin from where I read, knit, and sometimes put on a movie on my laptop. Some evenings I just sat and looked into the fire in the stove and scratched my dog on his belly.

The tipi takes me into another state of mind. Even though I’m so close to everything outside; animals, birds, weather and nature, the tipi has become my home. Here I can breathe, make good food. Be myself. Stay in my longjohns all day. Make a fire in the stove. Be alone. Let the thoughts wander. Stay inside, but actually be outside.

It became my free space. A place to just stay present. In the simple life, with only the necessary. With warmth and shelter. What more could I ask for? This is where I find peace in a hectically everyday life. I no longer feel guilty or uncomfortable and restless for not using enough time outside in nature.

Illness

In January the coldest and roughest time, I got ill. I moved back in to my mum and dad for two weeks. Even though the tipi is a free space to charge the batteries, it’s not a place to be ill. One thing is sure, and the indoor life with all its comfortable easy solutions with hot water, and electricity is good to have when the body needs rest and healing and you don’t have energy to chop wood. But as soon as my health was good again, it was time to get back out.

Chilly thoughts

It can still be a bit hard to get out even though I live outside in my cozy tipi. Sometimes I have considered in just moving back in. When I leave a nice warm home with a couch visiting family and friends, it’s been a bit hard to leave for a chilly tipi with chopping wood and lighting a fire before it gets normal temperature. But I did, every time I went back to my home. And as soon as the fire was lighted and the hot water was boiling, I never regretted. It was good to be home. I had lived outside for six months. But I wasn’t finished. I still had some cold winter days and nights left in front of the bonfire and inside in the good vibes in the tipi.

Spring

All of a sudden, the spring came. The snow melted slowly without me really noticing it. And one morning in April, I could wake up without using the stove. I could walk outside in my nickers to pee. Barefoot I could put up my hammock. And it felt great to spend more time outside of the tipi again. My food storage changed from stews and porridge to fruit and berries.

Tentipi – embrace the elements

I jumped in and out from the tipi and enjoyed long slow mornings from the bed where I could stay for hours just watching the tipi roof, and the shadows of the trees, listening to the birds sing, seeing the sun turning around the tipi during the day. And then I realized, that after nine months, the tipi had to been taken down and packed away to give room for a house to get built. That I have put one hell of an adventure behind me. Tentipi’s saying is “Embrace the elements” and that is what Tentipi has given me the opportunity to do through these months. The tipi-life has made it easier to get out in the elements. I have spent all my time outside in the mountains, on skis, hiking, with a fishing rod, on my bike, picking berries, making a bonfire, and just spent time outside, present in the moments. There has been such a short distance from me to the elements. From my home, my Tentipi Safir 7 cp.

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… and even the best adventure has an ending

This adventure in a Tentipi for nine months has given me so many valuable moments. Good mood. Necessary timeouts. A solid home. Good values. And I have learned so much. It has been a lot easier to live this simple outdoors, without the material needs you make yourself inside, than I had thought. It’s almost been too easy. Should I try for another season? To see if I find bigger challenges? Maybe it’s like it is with most adventures ending. You only remember the good stuff. And the good moments. And the hard days and challenges are erased from your memory. I have to admit; it’s going to be nice to move inside again. But I will for sure miss the tipi lifestyle. And I bring it with me, as a valuable adventure.

Home away from home – Safir 7 cp from Tentipi

And now that the housebuilding is starting and the tipi is taken down, I’m looking forward to having a home laying in the storage place, ready to go for new adventures when I need a home away from home. It will follow me through life, on new adventures, in new places, with family and friends. It will be a spot where I can meet new people, who isn’t that skeptical to realize the dreams they have. And one thing is sure: My new house that will rise during the summer, will rise with experiences I wouldn’t have had without the tipi lifestyle. Air intakes, light, indoor climate, weather affections, colors, practical solutions and simplicity are elements from Tentipi that I have got inspiration from.

Thankful for help

My independency and the fact that I being capable to manage things on my own have been put to a test this year. I have got a lot of good help from family and friends. And I have become dependent on the valuable help. That’s maybe the most important thing I’ve learnt: Even though I enjoy my own company, it’s nice to get some help. I’m very grateful and have so much respect for the people that’s with me and support me on my life adventures. Thanks to Jonny Bakaas in Tentipi and to family and friends that does not give advice unless I ask for it and accept that I take some non-traditional choices in life.

Still wondering

I still wonder why all the people who thinks outdoor life is the best, still live inside? And why has it become more important to document the moments instead of being present in them?

 

Pictures: Hanna Nordheim

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Sunday 26th January 2020 19:10

Hi Hanne, I wish you were on Facebook. I am.

I am 74 and I live in Southern California. (Just settled down due to health/age). I have spent most of my life traveling (in and outside the US), moving (around the US). I have 3 grown kids and 3 grandkids. I have lived a lot of my life outdoors: on the ground, in tents, in an RV/truck/camper/trailer.  Right now I am in my simple (made from a tarp) tent out in the woods, posting on Facebook. I camp every weekend now that I have rented a room in a friend's house. (You could see what I am up to and I could see your adventures: why I wish you were on social media - spec. Facebook! 😊)

I love your article. Thanks and love. Bunny Boswell (Ojai, California)

Saturday 22nd February 2020 16:00

Hi Bunny, and thanks for the nice comment:)

 

Sounds like your lifestyle is very interesting aswell. Its good to know, that even though I get older, I don't need to stop exploring and playing outside in nature embracing the elements. I don't like to use much time on my computer or on social media, so I don't think you will find me on Facebook in the nearest future. But if you ever come to Norway, your very welcome to visit me and we can go on an outdoor adventure together. 

 

Enjoy your outdoorlife

-Hanne

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